Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words
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“Edward Blythe grew up in a cow-town in southeastern Arizona. Growing up without a TV, he became a voracious reader and writer. An accountant by trade, Edward lives and works in southern California with his wife and children. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing and travel.”
“Jack’s seen something strange. The man standing at the teller window just made a large cash deposit. It seemed like a simple thing - not so unusual in a credit union, but it’s gnawing at the back of his mind.
He’s already over his time allotment for the audit, but he can’t dismiss the transaction, or the evil grin the man gave him. He’ll take a quick look to satisfy his own curiosity. It’s about to be the biggest mistake he ever makes.
What he’ll uncover is a secret – a dirty cop secret.
He’s bored to death as an auditor, but never imaged this audit could actually kill him…until now.”
Jack Bluth’s job is auditing credit unions to, among other things, insure they are following the laws and regulations that govern them. Usually it’s a boring job, but when Jack uncovers some suspicious activity, his life is suddenly at the opposite extreme.
The overall story isn’t bad. The boredom of Jack’s job comes through loud and clear. The premise, that he uncovers what appears to be a money laundering operation, is a good one, and the details of how he does this and the events that trigger his suspicions are both credible and accurate. However, the devilish details get in the way of the story.
A large part of the problems are due to inadequate editing in all phases of the editing process including proofreading. There are numerous typos and other errors. Sometimes this is minor, as in “Todd smiled, showing of his perfect teeth.” The reader will figure out this should be “showing off” easy enough, but it will still throw them out of the story when encountered. Sometimes a minor problem can cause a major change in the meaning. As in …
In his mouth was the nozzle of a furniture shop vacuum. The duct tape was wrapped around his head and nozzle.
Around his nozzle? What’s that? Or when he described someone as “a high profile character out of Albuquerque, who always wore a cowboy hat, a fringy leather vest, and his stellar record of thirteen successful suites against cities and police departments across the United States."
He wore his record? (The unfortunate typo ‘suites’ instead of ‘suits’ doesn’t help matters.)
Then we’ve got a problem of messing up “facts” within a few pages of each other or even within a couple paragraphs. For example Jack tells a friend he has $11,000 in savings and several pages later tells him he’s willing to invest “the full seventy-five in my savings.” (Whether that is seventy-five hundred or thousand isn’t clear, but is definitely inconsistent.) At one point in the story Jack found himself without a car and having to get around by walking or riding a bus. Figuring out the bus system was a challenge (hence the seemingly unneeded detail about the bus schedule), but even so, these paragraphs threw me.
He could take the 33 route up to little Tokyo, then transfer to Bus 333 to downtown, then at Main and Temple he could walk a block, and then get on the 84 to Mt. Washington. He looked up as he heard the sound of the bus coming up the empty street. His body seemed so physically drained he didn’t know if he was going to be able to lift his foot onto the bus as it opened its doors. Stumbling to the back, he lay across the hard plastic seats. Within minutes, he was asleep.
He jolted upright. The bus was stopped. The driver was saying something, but it didn’t register to Jack. He looked again at his watch; 12:50 a.m. It had taken more than an hour to get downtown.
Jack then walks the block to get on the #84 bus, but somehow he managed to make the transfer to Bus 333 while sleeping?
The sheer volume of issues like these examples kept throwing me out of the story and rather than wondering how it would end, I was just wishing it would.
A large number of proofing and copyediting issues. Some of the problems I spotted were minor typos (‘of’ instead of ‘off’), missing or extra words, wrong verb tenses, and sentences that made no sense or didn’t mean what was probably intended.
Rating: ** Two stars